As I gaze upon the world today, I see many young people wanting their freedom. Freedom from family, freedom from the norms of society. Freedom to explore new things.
This is not new, and not necessarily a bad thing. Without people pushing the envelope, seeking out new things, thinking differently, we would not have the inventions, ideas, and discoveries that we do today.
In our western culture, there has been a trend in the past century (maybe throughout time,) for young men to seek freedom from home, to explore, to fight, to become men, and then return home to a place of security to begin their own families.
Is this still occurring? There is a growing trend throughout the developed world, for people; young men and women, to seek freedom. Do they return eventually to a place of security?
There are certain benefits of freedom. Particularly the Independence one can have from perceived authority figures in life. The ability to do what I want, when I want to do it.
We see this approach portrayed in movies, with the lone wolf hero, facing impossible odds and winning. This approach appeals particularly to young males, who want the opportunity to prove themselves in the world.
There are consequences of independence as well. In particular, when someone is hurt, there is no-one to help them. Support is limited as we cut off people who have experience from life’s journey. We need to be able to continue to learn from those further along life’s journey.
The other major issue with freedom is that it is human nature to form packs. That is, to be interconnected with a group. The group affects the individual’s activities, their learnings, and ultimately their destiny. So, even those who seek freedom, will by nature, fall into a pack, and be shaped by them.
This pack grouping can be as advantageous as problematic. The pack mentality gives people security. As the group determines activities and destiny, this security can be a positive or negative factor.
As a negative factor, the group makes poor or inexperienced decisions that lead to struggles, or pain.
Of greater concern is a growing trend for mature people to walk away from the responsibilities they have, giving up security for freedom. Separation and divorce are key indicators in the community of individuals wanting their independence, their freedom from their partner.
A few years ago, parents came to me about their seven-year-old daughter. They said that their only child was ruining their lives and they couldn’t do the things they wanted. She had robbed them of their freedom. Therefore, they didn’t want the daughter any longer and abandoned her.
Ultimate freedom can lead to the ultimate throwaway society, where we throw away all that is precious to us. Even relationships of those closest and dearest to us.
As a positive factor, the group can form a community, that uses the best of its members, the experience and wisdom of senior members, the youth and energy of younger members to guide the group in positive steps forward.
Security means that there are many hands to help when a member is hurt or faces life’s difficulties. Recently our community was affected by floods. As a community, we came together to protect and shelter people and the church property.
Which is better? Freedom or Security? Independence or interdependence? We need some of both in our lives, but a society full of independence will not last, and we need the security that comes from a healthy group, with healthy relationships.
At the end of the day, a balance between freedom and security is required in life. The balance allows us the opportunity to live creative and entertaining lives while remaining in the interdependence of community.
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